14 Common Dreams About Dying — And What They All Mean

It doesn't have to be scary to dream about death.

skull death IlhamZaid / Shutterstock

Everyone has had a dream about dying at least once. Regardless of the cause of this dream about death, the whole concept of dreaming of dying is one of the most common nightmares people have.

Oddly enough, it’s also one of the most perplexing scenarios out there. But, believe it or not, dreams about dying don't always imply death in a literal sense.

What does it mean when you dream about death and dying?

While dreams like this don't mean you will die in real life, these dreams could mean a bunch of different things, all depending on the circumstances of the dream itself.


And despite feeling pretty ominous, many cultures believe that randomly dreaming of your death could be a sign that your death has died. In other words, it could be a sign that your fate changed for the better and that you’ll live a longer life.

In general, a dream about dying and death symbolizes inner changes, transformation, anxiety, discovery and positive development, and a fresh start. These dreams symbolically also relate to fear of the unknown, built-up resentment, grief, and trying to cope with your own mortality.

RELATED: The Top 10 Most Common Dreams — And What They Mean


Death is a heavy subject, and it’s one that can take a lot of forms. For many people, death shows itself as a major loss. When we say something inside us died, we mean that it’s gone for good, and it’s rarely ever meant in a good way. As a result, a lot of the psychological dream interpretations about dying often will reflect this.

In many cases, having a nightmare about a family member, spouse, friend, or child dying can mean that you are afraid of losing them. It can also suggest that you may be harboring anxiety about the way they are changing, suggesting that you want them to remain the way they were when you first met them.

But there are also rage-related reasons why you might be dreaming about dying, too. Dreams of people dying can also suggest underlying anger or disappointment in some aspect of life. (It’s not unheard of, for example, for people who were victims of abuse to have dreams of their abusers dying pretty gruesome deaths.)

In some cases, dreaming of your own death could also be your brain’s way of giving you a metaphor for the way people abused you. People who are mistreated by others often will have dreams of themselves dying as a result of feeling useless or emotionally destroyed.


Above all, most dream analysts tend to see death dreams as a sign of confronting change.

The only thing that remains constant in life is change — and that might be why common dreams involve dying. This type of dream often represents a very final end and a brand new beginning. If you have recently undergone drastic changes in your life, this is the most likely reason why you’re dreaming of dying.

Adds Greg Mahr, MD, psychiatrist, author of "The Wisdom of Dreams," and director of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, “Dreams about dying are usually not literally about you dying; they are about an aspect of yourself dying, perhaps even an aspect that needs to die.”

The best way to figure out what your dream means is to take a look at your life to get a clue about what it could be. Death dreams often come as a result of having some tumultuous events in your life or are due to anxieties that could be causing you emotional distress.


Each dream is different, so it’s worth trying to figure out what the dream’s symbolism means to you.

What It Means If You Dream About Yourself Dying

Some people tend to have recurring dreams or nightmares about their own death. And while it can be a bit scary, this dream is actually a sign of change in your waking life.

This transitional phase will help you redirect your energy source and focus it more on your own mental health and well-being, rather than wasting it on others while neglecting yourself.

What It Means If You Dream About A Parent Dying

Generally, a dream about a parent dying acts as a wake-up call to focus your attention on how you approach life. This dream also indicates that you are experiencing stress and need to find a way to lessen it.


Dreaming about your father dying means you've been holding back from expressing your emotions, or that you are entering a new phase of the relationship with your parents, one based on comfort and support.

Dreaming about your mother dying relates to personal transformation, your own indecisiveness, or even missing a motherly figure in your life.

dreams about dying meanings

RELATED: If These 7 Things Appear In Your Dreams, You're Remembering Your Past Life


What It Means If You Dream About A Sibling Dying

Any dream about a loved one dying can be horrifying, and that's especially true if you dream of a brother or sister passing away.

A sister dying in your dream indicates that you may have personal conflict with your close friends or family in real life, and need to take steps to remedy the situation.

If you dream of a brother dying, it is symbolic of the "death" of a brotherly friendship in your life, so it's important to consider how you may be neglecting your friendships and, as a result, letting them die.

What It Means If You Dream About A Pet Dying

We all wish our furry friends could be with us forever, but part of owning a pet is realizing their mortality.


To dream about a pet dying relates to your desire to be a child again, not having to deal with the constant changes and responsibilities of adulthood. This dream can also indicate your need to step out of your comfort zone and try new things to become a more well-rounded person.

What It Means If You Dream About A Friend Dying

To dream about a friend dying indicates that you're experiencing a change in a real-life friendship. Or, says Mahr, “If a dream is about a friend or lover dying, think about what aspect of you that person represents and how that aspect of you may be dying. That could be good or bad.”

Depending on how they appear in the dream, this determines the way you see them. In other words, those negative personality traits they have are "dying" in the waking world, as is your friendship with them.

What It Means If You Dream About A Child Dying

In general, the death of a child in your dream is about your own inner child and getting stuck in the struggles of daily life, meaning you aren't spending time nurturing yourself.


If you dream about your own child dying, this also relates to your inner child, though it focuses more on trauma from the past, and moving on to live a better and brighter future.

Additionally, “Children are often potential, so a dream about a child dying may express a concern that a potential within you is dying,” adds Mahr.

What It Means If You Wake Up Before Dying In A Dream

Many times, people will have dreams about their own deaths; however, sometimes, they wake up right before they are about to die. Dream experts say that waking up before dying in a dream means our minds simply don't know what lies beyond life, so we are unable to have that experience.

What It Means If You Dream About Dying From Suicide

Though suicide is a very serious subject, to dream about yourself dying from ending your life means there is some aspect of your life that you want to end. It could be a relationship, a career, or something else entirely.


RELATED: Why Your Kids Keep Having Bad Dreams And How To Stop Nightmares From Happening So Often

What It Means If You Dream About A Boyfriend Dying

If you dream about your boyfriend dying, it means your relationship in the waking world is changing, both in the positive and negative sense. It could be that you two are simply drifting apart, that his behavior isn't what it used to be, or that you will soon take the next step in your relationship.

What It Means If You Dream About A Girlfriend Dying

Similar to a boyfriend-involved death, dreaming of a girlfriend dying is your subconscious mind worrying about losing your partner. This dream also indicates that you may not want to be in the relationship anymore and wish to "free" yourself from its constraints.


What It Means If You Dream About A Stranger Dying

While many dreams about death involve people we know, sometimes we may dream of a complete stranger. This dream is a positive sign, however, and means that you will soon come into financial wealth. It can also indicate that you need to slow down and take your time making an important decision.

What It Means If You Dream About Dying In A Car Accident

If you dream about dying in a car crash or accident, this dream symbolizes the need to express your emotions. You may be holding them back for one reason or another, so consider it a sign to let it all out.

This dream can also mean that you must face your daily problems head-on, or that you need to approach life in a different way.

“Cars are usually symbols of the ego, of how we get around in the world. Car accident dreams are often a warning to be less reckless, to live more slowly and thoughtfully,” Mahr comments.


What It Means If You Dream About Dying From Drowning

Because dreams about water relate to emotions, dreaming about drowning means you're suffering from emotional turmoil and are feeling overwhelmed as a result. This dream means you need to take the steps to overcome what you fear, and focus on renewal.

What It Means If You Dream About A Celebrity Dying

Dreaming about a celebrity dying indicates that they possess certain traits, and depending on what those traits are, it determines what they mean for you personally and how they relate to your life.

So, whether it's their commitment to philanthropy, their talent, or even their negative attitude, it indicates that these specific qualities will soon come to an end in the real world.

RELATED: What Your Vivid Dreams Mean & How They Can Help You In Stressful Times


Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others. Follow her on Twitter for more.